Guidance

VMD Service Standards

This document details the service standards of the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD)

Purpose

The purpose of this document is to set out the service standards users of our services and other stakeholders can expect from us. It also explains what you can do if you feel that we have not met these standards.

Overarching approach

Our overarching approach to delivering our services is that we will carry out our duties and administer the controls we are responsible for in an effective, fair and consistent way.

Courteous and clear

We will be courteous and helpful in our dealings with you. We will provide clear, straightforward information and advice on our services; and on the legal requirements that underline our actions.

Identifying ourselves

We will identify ourselves by name in all correspondence, on the telephone and in person. Where appropriate we will wear name badges or provide nameplates when we meet you.

Responding to telephone enquiries

We will always try to answer your telephone calls promptly and respond to questions arising from them within five working days. If we cannot provide a complete answer within that time, we will let you know why.

Where the first person you speak to cannot answer your query we will ensure that someone who can deal with it calls you back, within two working days.

If we are away from the office when you call us our voicemail will tell you who you can contact in our absence and aim to tell you when we are expected back.

If you leave a message, we will call you back or ensure that someone able to deal with your query calls you, within two working days of our return to the office.

Responding to written enquiries

We will answer your written enquiries (including emails) within 15 working days of receipt. If we cannot provide a complete answer within that time, we will let you know why, and tell you when we aim to provide a comprehensive reply. If the question is particularly complex and takes us a long time to gather the relevant information or to formulate our response, we will keep you updated on our progress.

If we are away from the office when you email us we will ensure that an autoreply message tells you who you can contact in our absence, and when we will return.

Meeting with us

If you wish to see us or we need to see you, we will arrange a suitable meeting. We will aim to see you at the agreed time but will ensure we are with you within 10 minutes of any appointment at the VMD.

For those that cannot easily travel to our site we can talk with you via our teleconferencing or video conferencing facilities. You can make arrangements for either with the member of staff with whom you are dealing or via email to postmaster@vmd.defra.gsi.gov.uk, or you can call us on 01932 336911.

Applications for marketing authorisations

We will assist marketing authorisation holders and applicants in making their applications by providing clear and accurate information on our authorisation procedures. You can find quick links to our guidance at the top of our corporate page on GOV.UK.

We will carry out assessments and process applications as promptly and efficiently as we can without compromising scientific considerations on safety, quality or efficacy. We will meet timescales for processing the various types of applications set for us by Ministers each year, which you can find on our About us page.

Providing information

We will be as open as possible in all our dealings with you, within the constraints imposed by legislation. We will provide information and advice in plain language on our services and on the rules that we apply, and will disseminate this as widely as possible. You can access the information and advice we provide via GOV.UK.

Providing assistance

We will hold regular meetings with representatives of our customers and stakeholders to discuss issues of mutual interest.

Ensuring confidentiality

We will comply with legal requirements that relate to the confidentiality of any data or information you supply to us.

Requests for information

We will consider requests for information in accordance with relevant provisions of the Freedom of Information Act 2005, Environmental Information Regulations 2004 and the Data Protection Act 1998. For more information on our approach to requests for information see our GOV.UK page.

Personal Information

You can see our standards for requesting or storing your personal information in Defra’s Personal Information Charter.

Consulting customers and stakeholders

We will normally allow a period of at least six weeks for you to comment on any changes we propose to make to UK legislation. We will hold an annual ‘open’ meeting for stakeholders. You can keep up to date with such consultations and meetings via our corporate page.

We undertake regular surveys of users of our application related services to find out how they rate us and how we might improve. We publish the results via our corporate page on GOV.UK.

Providing our services to all

We will do everything that is reasonably possible to make our services available to everyone, including people with special needs.

Enforcing our controls

We believe that prevention is better than cure and will work with you, whether your business is large or small, to help you comply with the legislation for which we are responsible. We aim to advise, instruct and then enforce. We will apply the principles of our Enforcement Strategy when enforcing the provisions of this legislation.

Fees

We are required to recover the costs of our activities in accordance with HM Treasury rules on fees and charges. We monitor and revise regularly the fees for each particular service we provide to ensure, as far as possible, that they reflect the cost of the work we undertake. By improving our efficiency and service delivery we continually strive to minimise the impact our fees have on those we charge.

The current fees are set out in the Veterinary Medicines Regulations 2013 (Schedule 7) and in summary on the Fees applied to animal medicine licence applications page.

What to do if our service does not meet these standards

Making a complaint

Our complaints procedure is set out on our About us page.

Getting help in pursuing a complaint

If you need help in making a complaint or further clarification on our complaints procedure you can contact Paul Green the Operations Director (by email at p.green@vmd.defra.gsi.gov.uk).

Plaudits

If you are pleased with our service or wish to thank an individual, you can send a plaudit to the member of staff who dealt with you or to postmaster@vmd.defra.gsi.gov.uk, or you can call us on 01932 336911. We circulate details of such plaudits to all our staff regularly, so we would be very pleased to hear from you.

Appeals

There are a number of formal appeals procedures available for you to make representations concerning our decisions on any matter covered by the Veterinary Medicines Regulations (VMR). You can find out more on our appeals procedure page.

Published 5 April 2013